P-hailing industry expects clear regulations under new law

The gig economy is more complex and it requires nuance in regulatory implementation

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

PARCEL-HAILING (p-hailing) firms are expecting the government to implement clear regulations when the new law comes into effect, as it will ensure a smooth transition for the industry.

Lalamove Malaysia Sdn Bhd MD Shen Ong said the firm welcomes the regulation and licensing, as long as they are reasonable and can be executed efficiently.

“We would like to work hand in hand with the government to ensure any licensing and regulations do not cause major disruptions to the industry or the employees who work tirelessly day and night to make ends meet.

“The parcel delivery industry will most likely encounter larger amounts of disruption as more and more full-time dispatch and delivery workers move to a more flexible work environment,” Ong told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an email interview last Friday.

He added that while the regulation would focus primarily on safety (both personal and financial), the question should be on the degree of regulation and how it will be implemented.

Additionally, Ong also highlighted that the gig economy is more complex and it requires nuance in regulatory implementation.

“Gig workers who spend long hours on-platform should receive more robust protections, whereas casual gig workers should have a different set of regulations.

“They should also be given the option to opt-in to certain programmes where necessary,” he said.

He also pointed out that blanket solutions will only serve to hurt the economy if not well thought out.

Similarly, a Grab Malaysia spokesperson told TMR that it welcomes the government’s consideration of regulating the parcel delivery industry.

However, the spokesperson said the implementation will need open and clear communications across all parties involved from the start.

The spokesperson added that this includes from developing the framework to the implementation of the p-hailing regulations in ensuring a smooth process when the regulations come into effect.

“It is crucial for the government and like-minded technology partners to come together in ensuring that the wellbeing of gig workers in this growing digital economy are protected.

“This will require innovation, policy adjustments, and close collaboration across the public and private sectors to identify longer-term solutions such as social protection, financial access and security,” the spokesperson said in an email interview last Friday.

The spokesperson noted that these policies under the regulations need to also protect the socioeconomic needs of consumers and the sustainability of the industry.

“We hope that Grab, together with other delivery operators, will have the opportunity to work closely with the government to enable gig work that is fair, inclusive and sustainable,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Ninja Van Malaysia country head Adzim Halim told TMR that it will cooperate with the relevant authorities when the regulations take place to ensure a smooth transition.

However, he noted that the logistics provider is still waiting for a better understanding of the exact scope of the laws and regulations that will be implemented.

“We will continue to implement the necessary standard operating procedures set out by the government and prioritise the practice of contactless deliveries in our day-to-day operations,” he said.

Dego Ride founder Nabil Feisal Bamadhaj said the new regulations set by the government should be easily understandable and achieved by the operators, as the majority from the industry is from the bottom 40% segment.

“Dego Ride will accept the new regulation of the p-hailing industry, in hopes it would bring benefit to various stakeholders.

“This will be important for the future development of the logistics and transportation sectors of the country,” he told TMR.

Under the new regulations, Nabil Feisal said there should be certain prerequisites or minimum requirements from the industry with regards to the individuals and vehicles used to operate various services.

He added that at the same time, p-hailing operators should also be given leeway with regards to maximum hours or earnings they are capable of achieving.

In last week’s Parliament sitting, Deputy Transport Minister Hasbi Habibollah said the ministry is currently preparing legislation for parcel delivery services that use motorcycles.

He added that the service will be referred to as “p-hailing” and it will differ from the e-hailing services.

Hasbi said the proposed new regulations will help ensure the safety of road users, while providing a favourable environment to develop the industry.

He added that among the regulations were for p-hailing riders to obtain a public service vehicle licence, undergo health screening and to have insurance coverage.

“The ministry is in the process of drafting new regulations which are expected to be finalised by the end of this year.

“The date for the enforcement of the regulations will be announced after regulations for p-hailing services are finalised,” he said.